Lost For Words – The Greatness Of Our God

It’s been four years, nearly to the day. Four years ago, I was living in Nashville and helping lead worship at a new church plant.  I liked to record our practice sessions so I could hear my mistakes and today I came across one of those practice videos while perusing old files.  As I sit here listening to the words coming out of my mouth in this song, I’m speechless at the timing of it all.
This video was recorded just before a trauma that to this day, I can’t speak of very much.  Literally, my brain shuts down when I try to form the actual words, but also because precious few people would be able to grasp the realities of it.  Most people don’t know or understand what real psychopathy is, what it looks like, or how to identify it.  They really don’t know or understand how it impacts victims.  They certainly don’t know how to handle it when they are faced with it…but I digress.  It’s the trauma I shared in photo story here which I found to be far more healing than words anyways.  (For clarity’s sake, the trauma came at the hands of a psychopath who was not involved with the church).
What most people don’t understand is that trauma of this magnitude rewires your entire being.  For me, it objectively changed my personality type and rewired my brain so that I can no longer write or sing like I used to.  The way I learn and take in information is different, my short-term memory and retention is gone, and it solidified patterns of PTSD that had already been established through an upbringing of tremendous familial abuse.  Perhaps most importantly, it completely dissociated me from the ability to feel or experience God and likewise, I lost connection to every spiritual gift I had operated in prior to it.  Gifts of prophecy, words of knowledge, and intercessory prayer which I’d known since I can remember all but disappeared as though they never existed at all. In a moment, I went from a living being to a fragmented shell of a person plunged into a depth of darkness, numbness, and spiritual death that few will ever know and nobody around me could see or understand it – much less pull me out.
The last four years are most accurately described as desperately trying to claw my own way up the dark, slimy walls of that pit of death and despair.  I’m not really sure how far I’ve gotten, though.  I’m a long way from where I was, but I still don’t see the light.  My eyes are adjusting to the dark, though.  Two years ago the trauma repeated itself through another individual and oddly enough, became the crux of a very crucial turning point.  As I listen from my current vantage point to my own voice singing these words, particularly the ones highlighted below, I am speechless. To think that God saw exactly what was just ahead of me…knowing full well I’d never be the same… and to now hear myself singing these lyrics…  I can’t help but feel that God was leading me to pray these prayers that I would desperately need in the very near future.
I’ve had people comment on how amazing it is that I still believe in God after all this.  But I think God’s the only reason I survived any of this at all, so the comment doesn’t make a lot of sense.  I suppose to some I’d have a “reason” to turn my back on Him, but I don’t see it that way.  God led me to pray prayers and sing songs that no doubt released graces that my future desperately needed.  Why would I turn my back on a God that prepared for my redemption?
I wish I had a better way to describe what all this means or how it’s making me feel right now, but I’m hoping that sharing this is enough.
Sidenote:  I’m not sure if you can see it in this video, but in another video from the same day you can see a burn mark on my wrist.  This was the result of an accident at work the morning after I had been threatened by the psychopath.  I was so shaken up and nervous I spilled burning hot water on my hand.
The Greatness Of Our God – (Hillsong Worship)
Give me eyes to see
More of who You are
May what I behold,
Still my anxious heart.
Take what I have known
And break it all apart
For You my God, are greater still.
No sky contains,
No doubt restrains,
All You are,
The greatness of our God.
I spend my life to know,
And I’m far from close
To all You are,
The greatness of our God.
Give me grace to see
Beyond this moment here.
To believe that there
Is nothing left to fear.
That You alone are high above it all.
For You my God, are greater still.
No sky contains,
No doubt restrains,
All You are,
The greatness of our God.
I spend my life to know,
And I’m far from close
To all You are,
The greatness of our God.
And there is nothing
That can ever separate us.
There is nothing that can ever
Separate us from Your love.
No life, no death, of this I am convinced.
You my God, are greater still.
And there is nothing
That can ever separate us.
There is nothing that can ever
Separate us from Your love.
No life, no death, of this I am convinced.
You my God, are greater still.
And no words can say, or song convey,
All You are the greatness of our God.
I spend my life to know,
And I’m far from close
To all You are,
The greatness of our God.
And no words can say, or song convey,
All You are the greatness of our God.
I spend my life to know,
And I’m far from close
To all You are,
The greatness of our God.
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When The Tables Turn

Yesterday I was told that if I was any nicer, I’d have to wear a “doormat” sign. I was told it’s the nice people who are the ones taken advantage of, stepped on, forgotten about, or discarded and that’s why I’m so frustrated all the time – because I’m too nice.  Because people who like to take advantage flock to “nice” people.  Why?  Because they think “they’re nice, they’ll understand” or “they’re nice, they won’t be upset”.  Like blood in the water for sharks, us nice people are.
It’s true that “nice” attracts the users.  I can count three times in the last week alone this has happened to me. And the excuse is always the same. “They won’t mind” is the universal self-talk of all people who step on others. What a horrific disfigurement of human nature to use, neglect, step on, or take advantage of a genuinely kind heart for no other reason than you think you have permission.  Though proven to be reality, it’s a reality I’ll never be able to relate to or understand, as nothing in me desires to use or step on others no matter how “nice” they are.  And I can’t even fathom the delusional narcissistic mindset of anyone who does.
But here’s something I do understand. I understand the principle of sowing and reaping. I understand that when you sow disrespect, that’s exactly what you will get in the end. And if you’re the person who steps on or over kind people because you think they they don’t mind, then I can promise you the same people won’t mind at all when you fall, fail, or need a hand.  The same people you think don’t mind being stepped on now will one day step on you – and you aren’t going to like how it feels.  And because you disregarded them, they will disregard you all the more.
So to all the users and abusers out there…just keep using “nice” people as your stepping stones, because soon enough those stones will rise and cause you to trip and fall and when you ask for a hand up, you’ll be left in the dust where you belong. So be careful who you use. Be careful who you take advantage of. Be careful who’s feelings and person hood you disregard now, because they’re the ones who will disregard you when the tables turn. And I promise, the tables will turn.

Looking Up

There’s no doubt in my mind we’re living in the end times.  No better description of our current day has ever been written than that which was written in Luke 21.

“There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. “Then they will see the son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. “But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

I’ve come across a few YouTube channels that have spoken to my spirit in a particular way.  You know those moments where you hear a brother or sister speak and it just resonates with your own spirit so much you know it’s a word from the Lord?  Well, this sister has been posting videos sharing what the Holy Spirit has been telling her for the last few years.  They are so profound to me and God has been speaking to me through them.  I want to share them in hopes they will help wake others up and speak to them as well.

I’m not one to try and pin God’s timing down to days and hours, but I do know that Jesus is coming soon and He’s pouring out His spirit on His sons and daughters as promised in Joel 2.  It’s time to wake up, get right with God, and look up…for our redemption is drawing near.


 

 

God Is Patient

I was in prayer a couple days ago.  Exhausted and frustrated over mountains in my life that I feel no power to climb, much less summit.  I’m angry at God for, what seems in my mind at least, being inactive and entirely unhelpful.  Tired of being in chains and bondage, I cried out to Him, “WHY won’t you free me, Lord??”  Immediately in my spirit I heard the question, “What are you willing to do for your freedom?”

I’m not sure why this question triggered me so much, but it hit a nerve with me and I found myself getting angrier and angrier at Him.  My attitude was, “DO???  DO???  What the bloody hell do you want me to do??  I’m the one in chains here and you’re the one with limitless power!!!  YOU DO SOMETHING!  GEEZ!  How can you ask me that??”  (As an aside, the Lord and I have many such exchanges.  All I can say is…God is patient).

But really, it seemed like an unfair question.  It seemed cruel to even ask, honestly.  But the rage that poured from me surprised me and caused me to take a step back and actually consider the question.  Last night as my anger calmed down a bit, I came back to the Lord  with a tad more humility and said “Lord, you asked me what I was willing to do for my freedom.  Well, I thought about it and here’s what I’m willing to do.  I’m willing to lay down my arms.  I’m willing to stop fighting you.  I’m willing to be vulnerable and ask for help.”

Now, this may not seem like a lot to those of you who don’t know me.  But if you DO know me, then you know this is just about the most difficult thing anyone could ever ask of me.  From day one, I’ve been a fighter prone to defiance, unreasonable levels of independence, stubbornness, and resentment towards anything suggesting I can’t do something myself.  In fact, my first full sentence as a child was “me do it myself” and it’s a sentiment I’ve always lived up to.

To be honest, I was born with a pair of nunchucks in my hands and it takes a lot more than a request to have me lay them down.  On one hand, that fact has been a huge blessing as I was born a lamb in a den of ravenous wolves and those nunchucks are the singular reason I’m sitting here now typing out this blog.  On the other hand, it has taken me three decades to consider the idea that maybe…just maybe… the whole world isn’t a den of wolves and some things don’t need to be chopped to pieces.  (I’m not yet convinced, but I’m considering it…)

Needless to say, for me to lay down arms before the Lord is no small thing.  But it’s all part of the journey He has me on, and that only through His love and endless patience.  I’m told that coincidences don’t exist and so I want to share what happened in my life at the same moments these conversations happened…

See, the thing I was raging at him about in the beginning was a pattern I see in my life of absolute destitution, poverty, continual lack, and forced dependency (usually on abusive individuals who take advantage).  It’s a continual repeat of the nightmare that was my abusive childhood and a cycle I’ve never seemed to be able to overcome despite my pleas and tries.  I own a business and my rage at God came after a solid week of desperately low sales that wouldn’t even pay for the business to continue much less for me to gain a bit of independence.  Thirty years worth of pent-up rage poured out to God…and his only response was to ask me that question…

So last night I answered him in my spirit, and I meant it.  Today…the very next day…my business exceeded my second sales goal that I have not reached in five whole months of operation.  Coincidence?

Well, I’ll let you decide.  All I know is that humility does not come naturally to me, but it’s something God is teaching me.  Trust does not come naturally to me, but it’s something God is teaching me.  Dependency on HIM alone does not come naturally, but it’s something God is teaching me.  And though I’m slow to learn and abounding in defiance and sass, God has even more patience…and let me tell you folks, that’s a lot.


The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. – 2 Peter 3:9

 

Redefining Normal

We can’t properly understand what is abnormal until we understand what is normal, and just because something is common does not mean it is normal. Contrary to popular belief, normal isn’t what most people do.  It isn’t what is common.  Normal is the way God created things to be and thus how they function properly- not what they are given the influence of Satan and fallen man, which corrupts. Normal is the original intended purpose of a thing, or the standard by which all else is compared.  And abnormal is the degree to which we vary from that. Normal is what we should all be striving to get back to.  In short, we need to view normal the way that God views it, not the way fallen man views it.
It is common for man(kind) to be arrogant and proud. It is common for man to be rebellious and selfish. It is common for man to sin and reject God. But none of this is normal. None of this is the way it was intended to be.  None of this is the standard to which we should strive.  All of this is far from what God intended at creation or intends for us now.
I am so angry and tired of people who normalize sin, apathy, abuse, lukewarmness, worldliness, idol worship (In America that looks like the worship of sports, celebrities, money, status, etc.) and all the other things clearly laid out in scripture as sinful and not of God.  And I don’t care if the whole world decides something is “okay” just because “everyone does it” and it’s therefore “normal.”  I don’t care if every professor, government official, and psychologist in the world says something is “okay” or “normal”.  If it falls short of what God originally intended then it is NOT okay.  It is NOT normal.  It is NOT the standard. 
And while we all fall short of God’s standard, that does not mean we get to lower the bar or change it to our liking.  I’m not trying to be dogmatic or lacking in grace.  I’m simply trying to express that God doesn’t change His standards just because we fail to meet them. 
The bar is already set. God says “Be ye perfect, as your Heavenly Father is perfect” (Mt. 5:48).  This has been and will always be the standard by which we are judged.  Believe me, when we get to Heaven, we aren’t going to be judged based on the average level of sin per person.  We aren’t going to be weighed in the balance compared to our neighbor.  We’re going to be weighed on one side while Jesus – ultimate perfection – is on the other side.  We’re going to be judged and compared to perfection and held accountable for anything and everything that falls short of that. 
God is going to point at Jesus and say “this was the standard set for you, this is my normal”.  And we will clearly see all the ways we fall short, except this time, we’ll have no more excuses and what government or society deemed “okay” will no longer matter.  We will be judged in comparison to Jesus’ perfect example and whether or not we lived up to that, not the hellish standards of fallen man.
Those who live in perpetual awareness of the difference between our lives and Christ’s also live in perpetual awareness of our lack – our depravity – our impossible state.  They’re the ones who continually cry out “Abba Father, forgive me a sinner unclean.”  They’re the ones who both know and desperately cling to our High Priest and perfect sacrifice, Yeshua.  Because we know that it is only by His blood and His works that we are saved from God’s judgement and wrath.  Oh, how deeply our souls know our own depravity.  How painfully aware we are of our need for Him.
It’s when we start normalizing the sin which is common to man that we stop seeing and feeling our need for Yeshua and start thinking we’re “okay” simply because we’re common.  Let us never fall into the trap of thinking that God has lowered His standard of perfection just because we decided it didn’t matter and thus began our slippery slope away from Him.
Yes, oh yes, how deeply we need to redefine normal.  How much we need to see the gulf between us and Him, so that we may know that it was never because of our works that we were saved, but only because of the perfect work and blood of Christ that we have been saved from wrath.  How unworthy we are, and how worthy He is.  Glory be to God for His love.  For He truly is the author and finisher of our faith.  Amen.

Ophelia


I woke up last Thursday (October 5th) with one word screaming in my mind.  The word was “Ophelia.”  I had no idea what it meant, but when I got to work the Holy Spirit led me to write it down, so I jotted it down with this note.

Today I saw that there is a new storm forming in the Atlantic.  What did they name it?  That’s right…Ophelia.  It’s the 15th storm of the season.

I looked up the meaning of the name Ophelia, and apparently it means “help.”

I’m not sure what all this means, other than that God told me the name of this hurricane five days before it formed.

As you can see, my rhema for that day was Isaiah 24.  I’d forgotten what it said so today I looked it up.  Now I’m trembling

Isaiah 24:

“Behold, the Lord will empty the earth and make it desolate, and he will twist its surface and scatter its inhabitants. And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest; as with the slave, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her mistress; as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the lender, so with the borrower; as with the creditor, so with the debtor. The earth shall be utterly empty and utterly plundered; for the Lord has spoken this word. The earth mourns and withers; the world languishes and withers; the highest people of the earth languish. The earth lies defiled under its inhabitants; for they have transgressed the laws, violated the statutes, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore a curse devours the earth, and its inhabitants suffer for their guilt; therefore the inhabitants of the earth are scorched, and few men are left. The wine mourns, the vine languishes, all the merry-hearted sigh. The mirth of the tambourines is stilled, the noise of the jubilant has ceased, the mirth of the lyre is stilled. No more do they drink wine with singing; strong drink is bitter to those who drink it. The wasted city is broken down; every house is shut up so that none can enter. There is an outcry in the streets for lack of wine; all joy has grown dark; the gladness of the earth is banished. Desolation is left in the city; the gates are battered into ruins. For thus it shall be in the midst of the earth among the nations, as when an olive tree is beaten, as at the gleaning when the grape harvest is done. They lift up their voices, they sing for joy; over the majesty of the Lord they shout from the west. Therefore in the east give glory to the Lord; in the coastlands of the sea, give glory to the name of the Lord, the God of Israel. From the ends of the earth we hear songs of praise, of glory to the Righteous One. But I say, “I waste away, I waste away. Woe is me! For the traitors have betrayed, with betrayal the traitors have betrayed.” Terror and the pit and the snare are upon you, O inhabitant of the earth! He who flees at the sound of the terror shall fall into the pit, and he who climbs out of the pit shall be caught in the snare. For the windows of heaven are opened, and the foundations of the earth tremble. The earth is utterly broken, the earth is split apart, the earth is violently shaken. The earth staggers like a drunken man; it sways like a hut; its transgression lies heavy upon it, and it falls, and will not rise again. On that day the Lord will punish the host of heaven, in heaven, and the kings of the earth, on the earth. They will be gathered together as prisoners in a pit; they will be shut up in a prison, and after many days they will be punished. Then the moon will be confounded and the sun ashamed, for the Lord of hosts reigns on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and his glory will be before his elders.”

 

Dearest friends, God is speaking to us.  I pray we all have the ears to hear.  And if anyone of you has an idea of what this may mean, please feel free to reach out.  God bless.

 

The War Drums Beat


On Sunday morning, I arrived early for an appointment and stopped at a local park to drink some coffee and wait.  This is what I saw.  Immediately I recognized this scene from the last dream I had (see Dream Of Martial Law).  This is almost exactly what I saw in my dream, except in my dream the moon was much closer and bigger.

I sat here praying.  Praying for God’s Spirit to move upon His people to bring them closer to him and to protect them.  Praying for God’s Spirit to move and convict the lost and bring them into the fold of His protection.  Praying for my own heart and soul.

The last two days have felt very heavy in the Spirit.  A seriousness and solemness along with a sense of alertness.  The Spirit has been convicting me of sin in deeper ways and bringing my own heart into a deeper sense of repentance.  The urgency feels tangible.  The heat of the Spiritual battles going on right now are intense.

I pray that all those who are marked by Christ be found safely in the shadow of His wings.  I pray that all those who are lost will run full-speed into that safety…before the Spiritual battle reveals itself in the physical…because it’s close.  So close that if you put your ear to the ground, you can hear the war drums beat.